Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Allen Harim have signed a conciliation order by consent to the poultry company’s past permit violations.
Under the agreement, Allen Harim would pay an administrative penalty of $300,000 and that Harim reimburse DNREC $7,888 for expenses incurred during the department’s investigation.
The agreement also calls for Allen Harim to terminate all spray irrigation activities at its Dagsboro poultry hatchery, and for the facility to connect to the Sussex County sanitary sewer system to address the company’s future wastewater needs. Upgrades already are in place at Allen Harim’s Harbeson facility addressing wastewater issues there.
At issue are violations at Allen Harim’s poultry processing facility in Harbeson and its hatchery in Dagsboro. According to DNREC, from July through November 2016, Allen Harim’s Harbeson poultry processing facility had numerous violations of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater permit for ammonia, phosphorus, total suspended solids and bacteria. DNREC issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order to address these and prior violations of the facility’s NPDES permit. Subsequent upgrades at the Harbeson facility has enabled Allen Harim to operate in compliance with their permit.
Allen Harim met with DNREC following issuance of that Secretary’s Order, during which violations at the Dagsboro hatchery were addressed. The Dagsboro hatchery has a permit that authorizes the spray irrigation of screened hatchery process wastewater under a set nitrogen-loading limit. Allen Harim’s 2016 and 2017 annual reports to DNREC show that the company exceeded those loading limits, and two onsite groundwater monitoring wells revealed an impact to groundwater from the spray irrigation operation.
Upgrades already are in place at Allen Harim’s Harbeson facility addressing wastewater issues there.
The order also allows Allen Harim to perform an Environmental Improvement Project (EIP) within the Broadkill River Watershed to improve water quality by eliminating a source of nutrient runoff. Allen Harim may apply up to $150,000 of the assessed penalty towards implementing the EIP. This allowance by DNREC will not reduce the amount paid by Allen Harim, but will redirect part of the penalty into water quality improvements in the impacted watershed.